9 players make up the 2021 Packers Draft class and in this article, we will give out our way too early grades on last years rookies in Green Bay. Yes, it’s far too early to make final judgments on these guys but we’ll give it a shot. Note, these grades are not meant to be graded on a “rookie scale” but rather, how these players will project to be come the end of their careers.
1st Round Pick: Eric Stokes, Cornerback
Stokes was forced into the fire early into his rookie campaign. When Jaire Alexander got hurt in Week 4, Stokes was no longer able to ease into playing time but rather be counted on time and time again. By seasons end, the 22 year old had played in a whopping 92% of defensive snaps, which is a credit to his talent and durability through the year.
Stokes finished the 2021 regular season with 14 passes defensed, 1 interception and 55 tackles.
After one year in the books, it’s hard to give Stokes anything but a high grade. He made one of the most difficult positions in football look routine at times and you’d think he’s only going to get better from here.
2nd Round Pick: Josh Myers, Center
Myers was selected in the 2nd round of the 2021 draft out of Ohio State, where he was their Team Captain. He won the starting Center job in training camp after the departure of Corey Linsley and played every snap in the Packers first 4 games. After being inactive in Week 5, he returned to the field in Week 6, where he played 4 snaps, got hurt and didn’t play until Week 18 and the playoffs.
It truly is too early to tell with Myers, who missed the majority of the 2021 season. Sure, the Packers probably wish they would’ve drafted Chiefs Center Creed Humphrey after his outstanding rookie season but 30 other NFL teams feel the same way. All in all, it appears Myers is still someone to be optimistic about moving forward.
3rd Round Pick: Amari Rodgers, Wide Receiver
As people say in South Dakota, “Oofta” is the best way to describe Rodgers’ rookie campaign. 2021 was a season of miscues and ugly moments for the 22 year old out of Clemson. Often appearing to play with a lack of confidence, Rodgers was ineffective as a returner last year and barely saw the field on offense. He has a long ways to go.
4th Round Pick: Royce Newman, Guard
Newman started 16 regular season games at Right Guard and played in 97% of the teams offensive snaps, quite the accomplishment for a rookie. With that said, the season wasn’t all peaches and sunshine for the rookie out of Ole Miss, as many would say he had a very poor season despite his high volume of snaps.
So, I’m choosing to go right in the middle with his grade. How bad can a guy possibly be if he started 16 regular season games as a rookie? At the very least, you would imagine he can be a steady and reliable NFL backup for years to come.
5th Round Pick: TJ Slaton, Defensive Tackle
The Packers first 5th round pick was DT TJ Slaton out of University of Florida. The longer the season went along, the more snaps Slaton received. After sparingly playing the first 75% of the regular season, he played in 36, 35, 39 and 56% of the snaps to close out the regular season.
There’s not enough evidence to make a final projection on Slaton but I will say, the Packers were thin at defensive line last year. There wasn’t much outside of Dean Lowry, Tyler Lancaster and Kenny Clark.
5th Round Pick: Shemar Jean-Charles, Cornerback
Jean-Charles played in 4% of defensive snaps last season and 63% of all special teams snaps. Other than that, there’s not much to report. We’ll see.
6th Round Pick: Cole Van Lanen, Offensive Lineman
Van Lanen spent the large majority of the 2021 season on the Packers practice squad. The local Green Bay native has a long ways to go to being a consistent player on an NFL roster.
6th Round Pick: Isaiah McDuffie, LB
McDuffie didn’t play a single snap on defense and played in 58% of all Packers Special Teams plays.
7th Round Pick: Kylin Hill, RB
Hill flashed in the preseason and showed play making ability on a kick return against the Lions in Week 2. Unfortunately, Hill suffered a season ending injury in October. With that said, there’s reason to be optimistic on Hill’s future based on the limited snaps we saw from him in a Packers uniform.
Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a diehard Packers fan. Alex\\\'s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.